Review of Compass Airlines flight Los Angeles Houston in First

Airline Compass Airlines
Flight AA 5934
Class First
Seat 3F
Aircraft Embraer E-175
Flight time 03:17
Take-off 05 Mar 16, 14:25
Arrival at 05 Mar 16, 19:42
CP 10 reviews
NGO85
By 1222
Published on 6th March 2016
Background:

This series will cover a quick trip out to LAX. The ticket was purchased for $247 roundtrip in Y. UA was a little bit more expensive at $270 and I didn’t check WN(ex-HOU)/NK’s fares. This route is heavily monopolized by UA, who operates 10+ flights per day IAH-LAX mainly on wide-bodies (internationally-configured B789s are no strangers to this route). AA has more modest operations, with 3x daily service on ERJs operated by Compass Airlines (American Eagle). For the outbound, I picked the early morning flight that would get me into LAX by 9am. Returning, I picked the afternoon flight to get back to IAH at a reasonable hour. The flights were upgraded from Y to F using six 500-mile upgrades, which both cleared 72-hours prior to departure. This leaves a very simple routing:

Part 1 – IAH-LAX [AA 5931, Embraer ERJ-175, First] – http://flight-report.com/en/report-13453.html
Part 2 – LAX-IAH [AA 5934, Embraer ERJ-175, First] – You are here

This report will cover the return segment from Los Angeles to Houston, which turned out to be a tale of two reports since this flight was nothing like the outbound flight. At the end, there will be a spotting bonus from LAX’s Imperial Hill.



Pre-flight:

I arrived to LAX by car at 12:30 after spotting at Imperial Hill.

photo 1

I returned my car and took the shuttle back to the airport arriving at Terminal 4 since my flight was departing from the Remote Terminal. There is a “Premium” entrance for AA that leads directly to the Priority check-in area (Flagship check-in is also over there).

photo 2

The check-in lobby. You can already see the really long security line upstairs.

photo 3

A quick stops at the FIDS.

photo 4

The AA logo at the entrance to the Priority AAccess line. Security was slow and took about 15 minutes to clear. The normal line was even longer so once again I’m glad I have status.

photo 5

Reaching airside, an AA A319 out the window.

photo 6

The entrance to Terminal 4 is adorned with this old-school AA logo.

photo 7

Inside of Terminal 4. The Admiral’s Club is upstairs in those windows.

photo 8

AA A321.

photo 9

The shuttle buses to the Remote Terminal are located downstairs.

photo 10photo 11

The buses leave frequently so getting on isn’t difficult.

photo 12

Some spotting from the bus.

AA A321.

photo 13

UA B772 in *A special livery.

photo 14

Reaching the Remote Terminal, my gate (44E) is located straight ahead.

photo 15

My ERJ waiting outside.

photo 16




——————————-

American Airlines, AA 5934
Equipment: Embraer ERJ-175 [N215NN, delivered September 2015]
Departure: 14:25 (ATD: 14:36)
Arrival: 19:42 (ATA: 19:22)
Flight time: 2:46


Right when my flight started boarding, the flight at the adjacent gate started to deplane. So I felt like a salmon swimming upstream trying to get to my gate as the flight from Tuscon was deplaning.

photo 17

The “jetbridge.”

photo 18

Confirming our aircraft type and operator.

photo 19

Fuselage shot.

photo 20

A silent welcome on board. He kind of gave me a head nod as I turned into the cabin. My seat for this flight. I had picked 3F since the seat next to it was empty at check-in, but last minute upgrades filled the cabin to 12/12 load so I should have kept 4A.

photo 21

Sitting down, my eyes are immediately drawn to this bright color in the seatback pocket. Trash… Seriously, how can you miss this? Pitiful cabin cleaning at a hub. If the trash was hidden in the bottom of the seatback pocket, I’d care less, but this was in plain sight.

photo 22photo 23

Standard seatpitch in F.

photo 24

The FA came by for PDB. I asked if it was open bar. He said “sure,” so it will be a gin and tonic.

photo 25

I’m probably the only weird person that brings personal slippers onto the plane. We’ll be sporting NH today.

photo 26

View of the cabin as the front door is closed on time. My seatmate was sporting a Chinese passport so must have just connected in LAX and was quickly fast asleep for the entire flight.

photo 27photo 28

The taxi out takes us past our twins.

photo 29photo 30

Fashionable cars are all over LA.

photo 31

As we approach the runway, an AS B737 in “Portland Timbers” special livery lands.

photo 32

We quickly are on our way as we go soaring over LAX Terminal 5 (DL). The SQ A388 is taking off on the parallel runway.

photo 33

TBIT. The DY B788 looks so tiny next to all of the A380s and B77Ws.

photo 34

AA and NZ B77Ws at remote stands.

photo 35

More heavies at remote stands as the beach is in sight.

photo 36

This is when the person in front of me inexplicitly throws his seat in full recline and hits me in the head as I’m taking pictures out the window.

photo 37

Iconic LAX departure shot of Venice and Santa Monica.

photo 38

We rotate to the left to make a U-turn towards the east on this rainy day.



Seatback contents (trash omitted).

photo 42

Interesting that there are different covers of American Way each month. This one is also advertising Belize, but the cover is different from the previous flight.

photo 43

Beverage listing for those wondering.

photo 46

Domestic route map.

photo 47

Safety card.

photo 44photo 45

Left armrest.

photo 48

Right armrest with recline button and tray table.

photo 49

The blanket that is pre-placed in the seat.

photo 50

Drink service is done after we level off. Tea for me. This is when things started to smell suspicious.

photo 51

Hmm, this was followed by the snack basket. This is when that suspicious smell turned into a rotten, moldy smell. This flight was listed as “Lunch” on the website. The flight is more than 2 hours in length and during the meal times, so there is absolutely no reason for no catering on this flight.

photo 52

Here is a cursory search on AA's website of this flight indicating the meal.

photo 149

What are the odds, I look out the window and see this UA plane racing us to IAH. I bet they have meals…

photo 53

No IFE on the E-Jets, but WiFi lets you track the flight.

photo 54

It was cloudy for most of the flight, but occasionally some pockets opened up in Arizona and I could see some desert.

photo 55

Tuscon, Arizona.

photo 56

A trip up to the lavatory, which was very clean.

photo 69photo 70

The FA spent almost the entire flight sitting in his jumpseat staring at us. We only had the one pass of the snack basket and drinks were never proposed again. This guy stood in the aisle for about 30 minutes mid-flight for no reason.

photo 57

With a complete lack of in-flight service, I turned to the window for some entertainment. Luckily, I was able to catch 4 air-to-airs with AA aircraft during a 30-minute window. We must have been flying along a flight path out of DFW towards the west coast.



The sun began to set as we approached Austin.

photo 62

Austin, Texas.

photo 63

Approach into IAH from the west.

photo 64

Crossing I-45.

photo 65

We touch down 20 minutes early. As we taxi by Terminal D, I can see the CA B77W in *A special livery parked at a remote stand.

photo 66

TK B77W getting ready for service to IST.

photo 67

The pilots announce we will be arriving at Gate A29, but we pull into Gate A30.

photo 68

Famished, I try and get off this plane as quick as possible. Bolt out of the airport and to my car to find some food, which brings an abrupt end to this series. Definitely a tale of two reports. I quickly want to forget this pitiful flight.






————————————————-

BONUS: Spotting at LAX.

I first went to the In-n-Out Burger, but it looked like all of the early morning heavies had already arrived so I only stayed for 15 minutes before leaving.

WS B737. (I apologize for clipping off the nose)

photo 102

WN B738.

photo 103

AA B772.

photo 104

NK A319.

photo 105

I next tried Imperial Hill, which is located on the other side of the airport. This is a small hill near TBIT that allows for great takeoff shots. A lot of heavies depart for Asia around 11:00-12:00 so figured it was a good time to join the crowds for spotting. Highly recommended spot if you have a car and will be near LAX.

photo 106

TBIT line-up.

photo 107

CM B738.

photo 108

DL B752.

photo 109

OZ A388.

photo 110photo 111

MU B77W.



CX B77W in the new livery.



DL B772.

photo 118

TN A343.



NH B77W.



Y4 A320.

photo 127

KL B744.

photo 128photo 129

CM B738.

photo 130

JL B77W.



AA B772.

photo 134photo 135

AM ERJ-145.

photo 136

AC A320.

photo 137photo 141

NZ B77W.

photo 138

CX B748F.

photo 139photo 140
See more

Verdict

Compass Airlines

2.9/10
Cabin5.5
Cabin crew4.0
Entertainment2.0
Meal/catering0.0

Los Angeles - LAX

7.6/10
Efficiency6.0
Access7.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Houston - IAH

7.2/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

What can I say? A pretty bad flight with AA, nothing like the outbound flight. From the crew to the catering, nothing was good about this flight. I gave AA my feedback and they gave the typical canned response within 30 minutes despite my Platinum status. Clearly, UA should be the carrier of choice on this route. AA doesn’t seem to value a route between 2 of the 4 largest cities in the US.

Cabin comfort: Brand new and clean E-Jet. The seats are comfortable in a 1-2 configuration. I would rate this an “8.5” for comfort, but have to reduce the points based on a dirty cabin. Trash in plain sight is unacceptable.

Crew: I should have known from the lack of a welcome onboard. The FA in Y seemed much better than the F cabin FA. Our FA looked pretty frumpy and he just sat there the entire flight looking at the cabin. One snack basket pass on a 3-hour flight is a direct reflection of his performance.

Meal and catering: The lunch” I was promised on AA’s website was non-existent so the rating will be reflected as such. Open bar PDB is the only novelty of this flight. The rest was just pitiful: one drink and one pass of the snack basket.

Entertainment: No newspaper offered and the standard seatback literature. No IFE on 3+ hour flight. AA should give out tablets on long flights operated on regional jets.

On-time performance: Left on-time and landed 20-minutes early.

Related

7 Comments

  • Comment 159299 by
    Numero_2 6744 Comments

    Thank you Michael.

    No time to visite a classy Admiral's Club before the flight ?

    What ? This was a Domestic First service ? What a joke !

    • Comment 336202 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1579 Comments

      Merci Clement^^

      No time to visite a classy Admiral's Club before the flight ?
      - You didn't know that AA elites can't access the AA Lounge unless it is part of a transcon or international itinerary? One of the many perks that comes from AA status ;)

      What a joke !
      - Still want to move to DEN? When the website lists Lunch, I expect lunch service. If they are not going to provide a meal then it should be listed as Refreshments. I would have bought something to eat on the plane if I knew it was only going to be Refreshments. AA's response was sorry for the inconvenience.

  • Comment 159305 by
    757Fan 374 Comments

    Sorry to hear about your experience, NGO85. I can't believe they wouldn't serve anything more substantial on a flight of this duration.

    I had a similar experience with United funnily enough a few years ago. When flying from MSP-SFO, I was upgraded to F on a CRJ-700 for the flight, and nothing other than a snack box was served .. and that flight was over 3 hours.

    Great to see your photos though from LAX! Looks like a nice day to catch some good takeoff's.

    • Comment 336203 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1579 Comments

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting Matthew!

      When flying from MSP-SFO, I was upgraded to F on a CRJ-700 for the flight, and nothing other than a snack box was served .. and that flight was over 3 hours.
      - A lot of it depends on the time of the flight, but I feel most airlines are very accurate when listing the service online for each flight. For example, the later LAX-IAH flight leaves after 8pm, so it is only Refreshments. In this case, AA stated it would be Lunch service and then failed to deliver, which makes no sense to me since we had a meal on the inbound flight to LAX. The CRJ700s might have too small a galley, the CRJ900s definitely can handle meal service, but I'm not sure about the 700s.

      Great to see your photos though from LAX!
      - Even on a cloudy/rainy day, LAX is a treat for spotters :)

  • Comment 159557 by
    jetsetpanda 2177 Comments

    The AA logo at the entrance to the Priority AAccess line
    - For a moment I thought this was a Greyhound bus terminal. :P I think the previous livery was classier than this new version.

    The entrance to Terminal 4 is adorned with this old-school AA logo.
    - Hopefully it will stay for posterity.

    ...but last minute upgrades filled the cabin to 12/12 load so I should have kept 4A.
    - You can always count on a full F cabin on domestic flights. ;) The days of free upgrades to F might be over soon. DL will be the first one to discontinue this benefit according to what I've read.

    Sitting down, my eyes are immediately drawn to this bright color in the seatback pocket.
    - How can you not? You seem to be drawn to bright things. :P

    I’m probably the only weird person that brings personal slippers onto the plane. We’ll be sporting NH today.
    - No you are not. I bring my designer slippers sometimes (don't want to get them too dirty though). ;) :P Is that the 70's version of NH? Where can I get socks like that? I need to add some color to my wardrobe.

    AA and NZ B77Ws at remote stands.
    - We know who's the fairest of the two. ;)

    This is when the person in front of me inexplicitly throws his seat in full recline and hits me in the head as I’m taking pictures out the window.
    - I never lean myself all the way to the front when taking pics because of incidents like these.

    The flight is more than 2 hours in length and during the meal times, so there is absolutely no reason for no catering on this flight.
    - Inexcusable. On top of that they did not offer any compensation when you complained to AA? I'm seriously convinced that DL might be the premium carrier out the the three legacy carrier that we have left.

    Sorry to read about your experience. It hurts that you had to use 500-miles to upgrade for this type of flight. This definitely will leave a bitter taste in your mouth and have you stay away from AA.

    Thank you Michael for sharing this disappointing experience. Shame on AA for posting the wrong information on their website.

  • Comment 159594 by
    Rl 777 760 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    It's a shame trash was left in your seatpocket, the bright colours made it even more visible.

    One pass of the snack basket when lunch was promised on the website is just utterly disappointing, I would be pissed off if that happened to me. Unfortunately you didn't get the best FA either.

    Absolutely fantastic shots of LAX after takeoff!

    Great air to air shots and great shots upon arrival at IAH.

    Thank you for the fantastic spotting bonus from LAX!

    It was really unfortunate that their service was so bad on this flight. Did they give you any type of compensation?

    See you!

  • Comment 160035 by
    KévinDC TEAM 3978 Comments

    Don't know how I missed this one! Oh, wait, I know...the cover photos of the IAH-LAX are LAX-IAH are almost the same!

    Everytime I fly out of LAX I find that security is a clusterf*** even with Priority Access.

    So I felt like a salmon swimming upstream trying to get to my gate as the flight from Tuscon was deplaning.
    - Hahaha, yeah, I'm left from that gate before and had the same feeling. It can get really messy there. You would think this would potentially pose security issues.

    I had picked 3F since the seat next to it was empty at check-in, but last minute upgrades filled the cabin to 12/12 load so I should have kept 4A.
    - Yeah, if you're travelling alone on an E-Jet, no reason to pick the E/F side if A seats are open. Seats rarely stay open in Domestic F with upgrades always waiting in the wings. And when there are no Elites to upgrade, there are always non-revs to take the open seats.

    I’m probably the only weird person that brings personal slippers onto the plane. We’ll be sporting NH today.
    - I've done that on long-haul before on routes I knew didn't have slippers but I've never rocked airplane slippers on domestic. lol

    Beautiful shot of TBIT on takeoff! Yeah, that DY 788 does look tiny in comparison.

    This is when that suspicious smell turned into a rotten, moldy smell.
    - Well, your seat neighbor, just got off a TPAC, maybe it was him that was smelly ^^

    But seriously, it is messed up that they didn't serve a meal. I've had full meals on my shorter flights on AA. LAX-IAH is almost 3 hours, plus as you show, it is listed as a lunch flight. If it were an oven issue, then they should have had a cold lunch with a sandwich or something.

    I look out the window and see this UA plane racing us to IAH. I bet they have meals…
    - Probably...

    The FA spent almost the entire flight sitting in his jumpseat staring at us. We only had the one pass of the snack basket and drinks were never proposed again.
    - UGH, lazy

    This guy stood in the aisle for about 30 minutes mid-flight for no reason.
    - Deep-vein Thrombosis?

    Definitely a tale of two reports.
    - Typical AA...totally inconsistent. They need to realize how much the crew can make or break the experience. In the back of the bus, you don't really expect anything, but up front, an effort needs to be made. Make an effort to at least pretend to care!

    AWESOME SPOTTING! Wooooo

    Your AA 772 at In-N-Out is a 77W...check out the raked wingtips

    I really need to go to Imperial Hill next time I go spotting at LAX, need a car though, Those shots are awesome and not against the sun as is often the case at In-n-Out. BTW the DL 772 is a 77L

    Did you send in any feedback to AA? I wouldn't do it to get miles or whatever, but I would let them know so the issue can be addressed. They need to start paying attention to these inconsistencies in service and they need feedback from customers for that to happen.

    Thanks for sharing!

Login to post a comment.